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Chronobiol Int. 1996 Dec;13(6):457-63.

Focus group evaluation of night nurse shiftwork difficulties and coping strategies.

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Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


Focus group interviews were performed on 45 intensive care nurses who worked 12-h shifts in a large metropolitan hospital. The purpose of this study was to identify nurses' perceptions of difficulties associated with shiftwork and coping strategies used to combat them. Overall, the findings were not different than those currently discussed in the literature. For example, nurses frequently utilized white noise, telephone answering machines, and light-darkening shades to improve the quality and quantity of day sleep. They also used exercise and increased early shift caffeine consumption to improve night work performance. However, the major incentive for performing night work for these nurses was a high shift differential that equaled approximately 20% of their hourly salary. Most nurses also felt that group educational interventions regarding shiftwork difficulties and coping strategies would be preferred to individual counseling. The most significant finding of this study was the discovery of an extremely high incidence (95%) of automobile-related injuries and near-accidents that occurred while driving to and from the workplace, potentially posing a significant public health risk.

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